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Juventus could face Napoli sanction

The Juventus Stadium will be full once again for the visit of Catania on Wednesday night, but it may be devoid of its most passionate fans when Napoli come to town next month.

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Juventus have, for the first time this season, fallen foul of new rules aimed at fighting racism by being punished for some discriminatory chants of their fans before and during the 2-0 win over Genoa at the weekend.

Had the incident taken place at the start of the season, the Curva Sud would have been closed outright, but a recent modification of the rules, prompted by a protest by AC Milan to a total stadium closure, means that the first punishment now carries a suspended sentence.

The next time such discriminatory chants or behaviour is noted at the Juventus Stadium, the Curva will remain closed. The punishment is hanging over the club for the next 12 months and a further contravention on Wednesday night will see a partial stadium closure enforced for one of the biggest games of the season in Turin, on Nov. 10.

Roma, Inter, Milan and Torino are also carrying the same suspended sentence for chants by their followers of a geographically discriminatory nature, but not racially motivated. Some groups of fans recently threatened to challenge the Italian Football Association (FIGC) on its regulations by purposefully insulting rival clubs and fans to bring about the closure of all stadia in Italy for a weekend.

Inter fans and Napoli fans recently insulted themselves ironically, and were also punished by the FIGC, whose strict enforcement of rules advised by UEFA has been heavily criticised for being counter-productive.

Rather than discouraging racism, it appears only to be encouraging territorial discrimination, inherent in the Italian game, as in many other countries, but widely regarded as harmless jibes between rival supporters.

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